I loved this book. Just finished reading it two days ago. I’m probably going to read it again — or at least parts of it. I’d love to reread the entire thing. Unfortunately I won’t have time to do so. Which is one of the reasons I loved this book.
What’s to love?
Friedman is like the ultimate bartender. He’s done the training. He’s read the text books. He’s investigated what every old school publication has to offer on how to make a margarita. But Friedman’s not going to offer you the same old same old margarita based on published recipes. Hell, you could do that yourself. No. He’s a bartender. A good bartender. A professional bartender. With professional ethics and a drive to take his work in the direction of the highest and greatest good. He’s an ultimate bartender. And ultimate bartenders have an objective: that perfect drink moment brought on by the best ingredients, combined in the right proportions and manner, offered up at just the right moment.
The ultimate bartender really makes your night.
This one, Friedman, he’s working it. He’s been out there talking to people — suppliers, other bartenders, food and wine critics, friends and family, friends of friends and family, bartenders emeritus, chefs, growers, local foodies and gastronomic travelers. He’s been behind that bar, gathering snide remarks, sour looks, rates of ingestion, boastful commentary and quiet suggestions for years. Already a master, he’s not too proud to conduct a little ongoing research. What do the trade magazines have to say about margaritas? What’s new on the market? What’s driving the sudden move toward Cosmopolitans and how can it be averted? Or just as importantly, should it be averted?
I can’t help but think of the lyrics from a song by the band Cake. Totally apropos:
[He] is fast, thorough, and sharp as a tack
[He’s] touring the facilities and picking up slack
The ultimate bartender does all this for you. And you thank him/her for it. You don’t even mind paying $12 for a margarita. Because it’s that good.
So thanks, Mr. Friedman. Thanks for spending your adult years navigating the wild world of journalism. Thanks for traveling from Beirut to Jerusalem to Washington DC and home again, to reflect upon Minneapolis, Minnesota. Thanks for all the reading, the research, the interviews, the effort to gather anecdotal evidence from all corners of the planet and for actually checking into the remote ether of the blogosphere. Thanks for having a career with the diversity and integrity of purpose that led you to write this book.
Thanks to you, I experienced a whole series of perfect BOOK moments, brought on by excellent thoughts and information, combined in the right proportions and manner, offered up at just the right moment.
Cheers! L’chaim! Salud!
Hm-m-m. Great review, but I got hung up with all the margarita stuff. Had the best one of my life in Mazatlán for about $5. I will go back to Mazatlán again and head straight for one of those margaritas.
And – Friedman’s book sounds great.